Which Buy-Side Institutions Participate in Public Earnings Conference Calls? Implications for Capital Markets and Sell-Side Coverage
54 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2016 Last revised: 19 Apr 2021
Date Written: January 16, 2021
We examine the participation of analysts from different buy-side institutions (hedge funds, mutual funds, and RIAs) in public earnings conference calls and the associated capital market implications. Using 81,652 conference call transcripts for 3,346 companies from 2007 to 2016, we find that buy-side analysts ask questions on approximately 18% of calls. Relative to sell-side analysts, buy-side analysts’ interactions with management are shorter, convey less favorable tone, and exhibit more uncertainty. Buy-side activity on earnings calls is also associated with subsequent reductions in sell-side coverage, and buy-side tone is associated with sell-side analysts’ price target revisions after the call. Importantly, our findings suggest that buy-side analysts representing a hedge fund play an important and unique role on conference calls. Specifically, hedge fund analysts represent nearly half (47%) of all buy-side appearances. In addition, when short interest in the firm is high, analysts representing a hedge fund are less likely to be permitted to ask the first question on the call, to ask lengthy questions, or to ask additional follow-up questions. Relatedly, relative to other buy-side analysts, the information conveyed by hedge fund analysts during the call is more strongly associated with both stock returns and investor uncertainty following the call.
Keywords: buy-side analysts, earnings conference calls, institutional investors, hedge funds, sell-side analysts, tone
JEL Classification: G10, G20, G23, G24, G29, D82, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation